After a storm or other disaster that damages your home or business, recovering your losses means filing a property damage claim with your insurer. You can go through this process on your own; or, you can hire an attorney to deal with your insurance company for you. If the damage to your home or business is substantial (or if you are unsure of the extent of your losses), here are seven ways that an attorney can help protect your rights under your policy:
7 Ways an Attorney Can Help with Your Property Damage Insurance Claim
1. File Your Insurance Claim for its Full Value
If you try to deal with your insurance company on your own, the value of your claim will be determined by the insurance company’s own appraisal. This appraisal will be focused on protecting your insurance company’s best interests (not yours), and it is not likely to reflect the full value of your claim.
2. Collect Vital Documentation that Proves the Nature and Value of Your Claim
In order to convince your insurance company that its appraisal is too low, you will need proof of the nature and value of your claim. An attorney who is experienced in dealing with property damage insurance claims will be able to collect the documentation and other evidence needed to maximize your coverage.
3. Obtain a Scope of Loss and Cost Estimate to Repair Your Damages from a Licensed Expert
Obtaining a scope of loss and cost estimate to repair your damages from a licensed expert is one of the best ways to quickly prove the value of your claim. An expert who works for you – not the insurance company – will approach your claim with your best interests in mind.
4. Consult with Experts about Challenging Issues
Sometimes, insurance companies have legitimate reasons for disputing homeowners’ and business owners’ property damage claims. If there are challenging issues involved in your case, an experienced attorney will be able to engage experts who have the knowledge required to overcome denial of your claim.
5. Negotiate a Fair Settlement with Your Insurance Company
Once you know the value of your claim, then you can begin negotiating for a fair settlement. However, without legal representation, you are still likely to find it difficult (if not impossible) to get your insurer to treat you fairly.
6. Sue the Insurance Company if it Denies Part or All of Your Claim
If your insurance company stands behind its denial, securing coverage may mean going to court. If you have had an attorney involved in your claim from the beginning, he or she will be up to speed and prepared to take your claim to trial.
7. Begin Bad Faith Proceedings When Appropriate
Many property damage claim denials involve elements of insurance bad faith. If you have a claim for insurance bad faith, you may be entitled to additional compensation outside of the terms of your policy.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Property Damage Insurance Claim
Saavedra | Goodwin is a Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm that represents homeowners and business owners in property damage claims. If your home or business has been damaged and you would like to speak with an attorney, we encourage you to call (954) 767-6333 or contact us online to schedule a confidential initial consultation.